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Legal sports betting may need tribe approval; Former MLB commish thinks tide is turning

Twice weekly, we’ll comb through as many articles, tweets and podcasts as we can find related to the world of sports betting and daily fantasy sports, and publish the good stuff here. 

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The National Indian Gaming Association has joined the American Sports Betting Coalition in its efforts to legalize sports betting across the country.

“We are pleased to announce that the National Indian Gaming Association will be joining the AGA’s Coalition on Sports Betting, which will enable us to coordinate with and provide feedback to the AGA with regard to tribal gaming concerns as the coalition advances its policy objectives,” said Ernie Stevens Jr., chairman of NIGA. “Of chief concern to NIGA is to ensure that tribal interests are protected, particularly avoidance of any negative impacts on existing compacts and exclusivity clauses.

“As one of the key stakeholders in these discussions we want to ensure that if legalized, our members have the opportunity to offer this activity as part of their overall entertainment package and as an additional source of revenue for tribal government gaming to promote tribal economic development, tribal self-sufficiency and strong tribal government.”

“We have a window of opportunity to get this done and the National Indian Gaming Association is critical to making it happen,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA. “Tribal engagement will help to move the needle forward and as the industry further unites, we will be able to end the failing ban on sports betting and allow our industry to grow.”


Getting approval from Indian tribes could be a key component to more states being able to legalize sports betting.

Introducing legal sports wagering will likely be more complex – if not controversial – in states such as Michigan, with both tribal gambling under IGRA and commercial gambling regulated and taxed by the state.

Tribes in some states operate under compacts that limit the scope of gambling on Indian lands.

In most instances tribal and state officials and regulators will need to scrutinize compact language, which vary significantly among the various states with Indian casinos. Most of them will likely need to be amended and the revenue share revised.

A former MLB commissioner seems to believe that legal sports betting may not be far off and will bring a “flood of revenue” with it.

Vincent, who was commissioner from 1989 through 1992, penned this short letter to the editor in the New York Times this month:

“For Sale: Team With Few Fans, Sweet Stadium” (front page, July 5), about the effort to sell the Miami Marlins baseball team, doesn’t report the possibility that legal betting on all major sports is not far off. The anticipated flood of revenue to baseball team owners may explain the price being asked, $1.2 billion.

His name also popped up in a Miami Herald piece on the same topic:

Former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent told me that the only way the Marlins are worth $1.3 billion or close to that is if gambling is legalized nationally, which he believes would create a lot more revenue. He believes it’s likely to happen.

Interestingly, Vincent was the deputy commissioner when MLB banned Pete Rose in 1989 for betting on games.

A Las Vegas sportsbook listed odds for a potential Jon Jones-Brock Lesnar bout.

He looked straight into the camera and said, “Brock Lesnar, you want to know what it feels like to get your ass kicked by someone 40 pounds lighter? Meet me in the Octagon.”

One Las Vegas sportsbook is already taking wagers on the potential superfight.

On Sunday, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened odds on the potential bout with Jones a -300 favorite and Lesnar +250.

Westgate sportsbook manager Jeff Sherman told ESPN that there was strong initial support for Jones, pushing him up to -450. The odds as of Monday morning were Jones -360, Lesnar +280.

Lesnar is currently retired and would need to serve out the rest of his one-year suspension from failing a doping test at UFC 200 last year.